The BlackBerry PRIV may be the first Android-powered smartphone from BlackBerry, but the phone doesn’t just run Google’s Android operating system. It also brings a lot of features that first debuted on phones running BlackBerry OS and introduces some altogether new features.
BlackBerry is taking order for the PRIV for $699 and expects to ship the phone starting November 6th.
This week a BlackBerry PRIV simulator was posted online… and then removed. But members of the CrackBerry forums had a field day playing with the simulator and looking for ways that the PRIV differs from a phone running stock Android software.
Here are a few highlights:
- The phone can be unlocked with a swipe or by pulling down the hardware keyboard.
- The Recents menu shows thumbnail icons in different sizes, with the largest thumbnails reserved for the apps you use most frequently. You can swipe to remove apps from the list or tap an X button.
- Some apps will support “pop up widgets” that appear when you swipe upward from the app icon in the home screen.
- BlackBerry Hub is a universal communication app that brings together email, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, and calendar appointments in a single screen.
- Productivity Edge allows you to view shortcuts for select apps by dragging your finger from the edge of the screen.
- You can also see battery charging status thanks to a charging bar that shows up on the edge of the screen when your device is plugged in.
- Long press the home button to bring up Google Now, email, and BlackBerry Hub icons.
And of course the Priv will come pre-loaded with key BlackBerry apps including BlackBerry Messenger, Meetings, and camera apps.
While the PRIV is hardly the first Android phone to come with some custom software, it’ll be interesting to see whether BlackBerry can convince users its additions to Android as bonus features rather than bloatware… because the company’s future as a software provider may depend on it.
The Priv Simulator is back online again: https://telus.simulators.modeaondemand.com/en-ca/blackberry/smartphone/priv/android/lollipop/5.1.1/simulator/
I tried the Passport Silver last month and other than the physical keyboard, the Hub was my favorite feature. Good to see that the Hub is coming to the Priv. It seems that Blackberry has taken the best of BB10, the best of Android and some of the best hardware features (PKB, 5.4″ Edge display, 3,410 MaH battery, expandable memory) and integrated it into one device. The Priv gets more impressive by the day.
I really love my Z10 and BBOS10.3.2 and all it’s gestures. I haven’t seen much of the Android implementation yet, but if BlackBerry brings over a lot of the gestures/swipes of BB10 then I MAY be interested in this device (though I hate the stupid name they gave it).
The workflow of BB10 is tremendous though. Very intuitive and very powerful. It just allows you to get “shit done” quickly. In fact, today I was sitting in a medical clinic waiting to get blood work done and I was multi-tasking like crazy while typing up emails (at a very fast pace thanks to its amazing predictive keyboard) and the lady behind me noticed and said, I have never seen anyone type so fast and so much on a touchscreen keyboard…is that a BlackBerry? I was like, yup…it just works!
The predictive text and swiping upwards of corrected and suggested words is simply awesome. The reason I can type so fast is because its auto correct is very smart and I’ve trained it so well I know it’s going to get a 90% plus accuracy without looking too hard at what I’m composing. If they only had all the apps of the other OS’s it would be perfect. I’d never have to go Android at all. But, ho hum…reality bites. The carriers and BlackBerry’s own marketing team killed BlackBerry because the OS is really something great. Too bad very few people know about it or care to even try it.
I really hope these APK’s will be portable to other handsets.
I loved BB10 and the Hub, I hope I can get those services on my OP2.
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